Advent wreath prayers


Advent is the four weeks running up to Christmas.  It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation and many Christian traditions light candles during this time.

How to make a wreath:

To do this you will need four or five candles, and perhaps some spares in case the early ones burn right down. Try to find long-lasting ones! You can make an Advent wreath using holly (carefully!), flower arranging supplies or use candle sticks for each of your candles.

When to light the candles:

You could make your own family tradition, lighting the candles once a week, or as many days of the week as you can. Light the candles at times when you get together, maybe at the weekend or at each breakfast or evening meal. Traditionally, you would light one candle in the first week of Advent, two in the second and so on up until Christmas. The first week of Advent always starts on the last Sunday in November. You can stop on Christmas Eve, or you can light a fifth candle on Christmas day.

What to say:

The prayer below refers to various Bible verses. The references are at the bottom in case you’d like to read the verses separately. You can also download the prayers on one A4 page here.

Depending on the ages of people in your family, you might like to take it in turns to read the prayer or say the lines after the reader. If you are using it more than once a week, you could try and learn the prayer off by heart. One way of doing this is for the reader to read it once, then repeat the prayer leaving gaps for the important words, and letting others fill in the gaps.

Week 1
As we light this Advent candle…
we remember Jesus, the light of the world.
Jesus, thank you that when we follow you
we won’t walk in darkness.
We will have the light of life.

Week 2
As we light these Advent candles…
Jesus, we are sorry that we do not always walk in your light.
We do and say things which hurt other people and ourselves.
[You could add specific sorry prayers in here.]
Please forgive us and help us to walk in the light with You.

Week 3
As we light these Advent candles…

Jesus, we remember people whose lives are difficult at the moment.
[Mention people you know, and people in situations you have heard about on the news.]
We ask that You help them and turn their darkness into light.

Week 4
As we light these Advent candles…

Jesus, we thank you for bringing us out of darkness into Your marvellous light.
Please help us tell others about all the wonderful things You have done.

Add on Christmas Day…
Happy Birthday, Jesus, Light of the world!
Thank you for coming to live and die and come alive again for us.
Thank you that your light shines on us,
guiding us into a life of peace.

John 8:12; 1 John 1:7; Psalm 18:28; 1 Peter 2:9; Luke 1:79

Alternative prayers

You could also use one of the prayers options below or invent your own. Usually, you would add a new bit to your prayer each week, but it’s equally as good to use one prayer all the way through. Just do what works for your family.

This is the prayer we use at our church for the Christingle service. You could say it all together or have one person say the first line and everyone else say the second.

Jesus, light of the world.

Come into our darkness.

I like the word Emmanuel as for me it describes the wonder and the mystery of Christmas – God with us, God became human, God in a body. You might like this Emmanuel prayer asking God to be with us in all the things we do. If you’re feeling creative, you can invent your own verses.

Emmanuel, God with us.

Emmanuel, stay with us.

Emmanuel, play with us.

Emmanuel, rest with us.

Emmanuel, God with us.

We have a prayer we use each Friday in our family as we light the two candles for our Shabbat meal. It’s based on a traditional Jewish blessing, with additional words from John 8:12. We used this one year for Advent, and I created a tune to go with it.

We bless You,
Lord our God,
King of the Universe

Who has given us Jesus,
the light of the world.

Thank you that whoever follows you
will not walk in darkness
but have the light of life.